Friday, September 7, 2007

Tell the Story

As I'm sure most of you are aware, Madeleine L'Engle has left us.

She's left us a number of wonderful books.

We read A Wrinkle in Time in school in the seventh grade...maybe the sixth, but I'd already read it. That's one of the few books I can remember my mom actually reading with me; thereafter, I'd just take them and read them myself.

The middle school reread was a good chance to face things about the book that I hadn't understood as a younger child, face my "weird" feeling about it, a kind of prickly discomfort edging on scared, I think. "Weird" or not (and I think to this day that it certainly was), it was good. Better than good. It was great.

Mrs. L'Engle's thoughts on the writing process have been quoted elsewhere, but the gist of it is that the magic that happens in writing, its meaning, isn't intended.

I know that I, personally, tend to get caught up in making sure that what I'm writing has weight and depth, that it would tug at my heartstrings (or, in some cases, tear them out and stomp on the pieces) as a reader. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. But when it gets in the way of me actually sitting down to write, then yes.

The very first thing any writer must do is tell a story. Depth, weight, and meaning come later. What we read for, first and foremost, is a story.

So tell the story.

1 comment:

msmac said...

Have you read Two-Part Invention by L'Engle? One of my all time favorite books. I just finished listening to AWIT recently after having read it a long time ago to my class.